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Digital savviness can make or break the modern workplace in connection with employee retention, engagement and satisfaction. The employee experience and technology go hand-in-hand, with employees actually wanting to be an active member of the digital world.

They are even willing to spend up to two days per month on training to upgrade their digital skills, if offered by their employer. While searching for meaning and purpose in their career, employees know that they need to step up their own value proposition in order to stand out in an increasingly crowded job market comprising of at least four different generations of workers. Thus, employers have a tangible solution to manage talent shortages and even a way to attract candidates.

As organizations with full-scale upskilling initiatives report greater success with automation, imperatives have shifted to go full throttle with dynamic and strategic efforts to keep their employees’ digital skills and knowledge up-to-date.

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According to a LinkedIn survey, employees who spend their time at work learning are 47% less likely to be stressed, 39% more likely to feel productive and successful, 23% are more ready to take on additional responsibilities, and 21% are more likely to feel confident and happy. Now more than ever, it is people – not technology – that powers business growth and return on investment (ROI), as the cost of disengaged employees can range between USD$450 and USD$550 billion a year.

In this day and age, if an organization has earned a reputation that lacks digital leadership, an innovative culture and digital tools utilization, they could be at risk of losing as many as six out of 10 employees. Keeping up with traditional ways of work is essentially setting yourself up for failure, to put it bluntly.

It is a struggle that business leaders need to address ASAP if they want to unleash the potential of a technology-empowered workforce. A new Conference Board survey confirms that the top concern of Chief Executive Officers (CEO) is attracting top talent and keeping their best performers on board, even presented as the main stressor among CEOs in the US, Europe, Latin America, and China.

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With that said, peace of mind won’t be cheap or easy. Addressing the ever-prevalent skills gap will require big investments from the top brass. Whether it is in the millions: case in point Amazon plans to spend over USD$700 million to offer training to 100,000 workers over the next six years while Accenture is committing USD$200 million over the next three years. Or even in the billions: AT&T rolled out a similar effort in 2018 when they invested USD$1B in upskilling more than half their employees as PwC undergoes a massive $USD3B global workforce upskilling last year.

On the importance of upskilling, “It’s not a nicety; it’s almost a business imperative,” according to Bill Pelster, a principal at professional services firm Deloitte Consulting LLP and based on the aforementioned actions of some of the biggest firms in the world, perhaps it is time we follow suit.

A digital transformation evangelist that acts as a conduit between employees and the senior leadership team can achieve engagement by advocating for upskilling initiatives. By learning how employees currently perform tasks, explore ways of working, the products they use and who else they need to collaborate with, business leaders can match digital initiatives to the needs of the employees. Strategic alignment ensures a greater chance of their buy-in and therefore success.

Download our case study:

Talent Retention

This article was first published here on 2nd April 2020.

Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash.

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